The Exchequer Balance

Yesterday’s release of the end-of-year Exchequer Statement provides the opportunity to update the quick look we gave to the mid-year figures.  The conclusions drawn in July are largely unchanged.  First the overall Exchequer Balance. 

At €24,917 million in 2011, this was the largest Exchequer deficit ever recorded.  The Press Statement released with the figures says that it’s not too bad though.

The Exchequer deficit in 2011 was €24.9 billion compared to a deficit of €18.7 billion in 2010. The €6.2 billion increase in the deficit is due to higher non-voted capital expenditure resulting primarily from banking related payments. The majority of these payments are once-off payments relating to the recapitalisation of the banks  and an exchequer deficit of €18.9 billion is forecast for 2012.

Excluding banking related payments the Exchequer deficit fell by €2¾ billion year-on-year.

Ah, “once-off” banking payments.  Next year’s “once-off” banking payments will be €1.3 billion to IL&P and possibly some further payments to the credit union sector.  So what €8.95 billion of “banking related payments” do we have to remove to turn a €6.2 billion deterioration in the Exchequer deficit into a €2.75 billion improvement?

UPDATE: I had guessed what was included in this calculation but the Department of Finance have posted a useful presentation providing the details.   This is from slide 4.

The issue is the inclusion of the Promissory Notes.  If we exclude this €3.1 billion payment along with all the other banking amounts then the Exchequer Deficit is lower this year. 

We didn’t make a payment on the Promissory Notes last year but we will make this €3.1 billion payment each year to 2023 and lower payments right up to 2031.  From next year there will be accrued interest added to the Promissory Notes that will increase the General Government Debt.  You cannot exclude something that is going to happen for the next two decades as a basis for saying the deficit is getting smaller.

We can strip out a lot of the banking complications by looking at the balance of the Exchequer current account.  This does include the €1.2 billion of income earned from providing the guarantee to the covered banks which is counted as current revenue.

The final outturn and annual pattern of current account deficit has been largely unchanged for each of the last three years.  Between 2007 and 2009 there was a €20 billion deterioration in the current balance.  In the two years since the achievement has been to keep the drop to €20 billion.  There has been no improvement in the current account deficit.

Looking the Exchequer interest payments gives some insight into how this has been achieved.

For a country that has to borrow to fund the deficits shown above it is pretty amazing that the interest expense in 2011 was lower than in 2010.  The explanation is that some of the interest costs were covered from an account other than the Exchequer Account.  Again, the press statement is helpful.

Taking into account the funds used from the Capital Services Redemption Account (CSRA) as well as Exchequer payments, total debt service expenditure was up €1.1 billion year-on-year in 2011, at close to €5.4 billion. This reflects the burden of servicing a higher stock of debt.

For 2011, the Budget target was a General Government Deficit of 9.4% of GDP.  The actual deficit will be around 10.0% of GDP.  This slippage (largely the result of lower than expected tax revenue) was not a significant issue as the deficit limit set by the European Commission was 10.6% of GDP. 

For 2012, the Budget target is a deficit of 8.6% of GDP.  The deficit limit set by the EC is also 8.6% of GDP.  If there is any slippage or lower than expected nominal growth we will not meet the deficit limit.

53 thoughts on “The Exchequer Balance”

  1. @Seamus Coffey

    “If there is any slippage or lower than expected nominal growth we will not meet the deficit limit. ”

    It appears to me that a) falling tax revenues are not some kind of ‘blip’ but a trend b) Ireland is already in recession and will not hit predicted growth targets in 2012 c) we are running out of ‘low hanging fruit’ to prune and resistance to more cuts will intensify in 2012.

    I can only draw one conclusion.

    Actually, I have a second conclusion – we won’t be returning to ‘the markets’ any time soon.

    What are the actual consequences of not hitting 8.6% ? Will the Troika withhold funds…. er, like they didn’t do with Greece?

  2. p.s. Why did the health spend jump from 2010 to 2011?

    I thought the saddest line was the decrease in spending on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

  3. its hard to believe that we have had five austerity budgets and we still have a 10% exchequer deficit
    Megan Greene from the Noriel Rubini institute said today on RTE 1 news the that Irealnd has already started to double dip back in recession which may mean negative growth for 2012
    debt servicing at 5.4 Bn for 2011 any idea what the debt servicing cost will be
    for 2016
    BTW whats happening in Italy with Uni credit

  4. This is a classic story of austerity leading to more austerity. The whole idea of the bailout was to protect the German, French and U.K banks from a sov default and allow a gradual decrease in the exposure of these banks to the newly nationalised debts of our famous zombies Anglo and INBS. Gradually the bond holders in these institutions are being replaced by a combination of Irish Government junk paper, ECB printed cash and IMF money. The ECB and the whole financial world know that the sovereign is going to go bust or get into hair cutting. In fact everybody knows other than our government.

  5. @PR Guy/Clintdeal
    It’s amazing the spin that is being put on our dire figures. Never mind going back to markets..the current trajectory is in the Greek direction. I wonder what the VAT increase will do for diminishing returns from this area.
    On the Unicredit situation…shares are going south at a rate of knots again today …down 16.9% after yesterday’s 15%. Why anyone would pay 450e when the rights are priced at 196 is beyond me. And those prices are after the reverse split wheeze. As I said some months back …keep an eye on Milan.

  6. @clintideal

    “BTW whats happening in Italy with Uni credit”

    I’m not allowed to tell you lest it causes mass panic and I get fingered here for going off topic!

    I’ve no doubt Unicredit has its problems but there isn’t much of an appetite for bank issues at the mo (and loads more coming down the line too) but some may be selling yesterday/today simply to be able to buy back cheaper later – don ‘t waste a good crisis and all that. It was fortunate timing for Blackrock though that they cut their Unicredit shareholding substantially… just days before the issue announcement. That was a bit of ‘luck’ eh?

  7. @PR Guy

    “What are the actual consequences of not hitting 8.6% ? Will the Troika withhold funds…. er, like they didn’t do with Greece?”

    Err..an even bigger national debt? An even longer requirement to be part of an EU/IMF programme?

  8. @ PR Guy and all

    Seamus has answered your question on health spend in his excellent 2 blog posts of today and yesterday.

    http://economic-incentives.blogspot.com/2012/01/expenditure-in-exchequer-statements.html#comment-form

    Basically the only reason for the increase in tax revenue is down to reclassifying the health levy as USC. The Tax revenue increase of 2.5 billion is almost entirely due to the USC being reclassified. the only other bright mark in stamp duty is also down to new pension levy.

  9. @ Seamus Coffee and John McHale

    Have either of you changed your position on Ireland’s ability to avoid default?
    I know there were long term benefits gained during the year through the reduction in interest on our IMF/EU loans but from where I am sitting the idea that this is not getoutable without a default seems more obvious than last year.
    Many workers have been paying vastly increased amounts of Income tax/PRSI/USC in 2011 versus 2010.
    As one of them I find it very disheartening that all that extra tax collected lead to no overall increase in income tax.
    The reason I would hope you would move sides is because when the facts change its OK to change our minds.
    It is because it would actually strengthen the governments hand in negotiating with the Troika if they said we cant find one economist in our country who thinks we have a snowballs.
    I think it would help if you turned the depressing tone in blog above into a revised opinion.
    Actually it may be time for one of those group of economists letters to the paper stating that.

  10. @Seamus,
    “I can see €8.3 billion of banking related entries in the Exchequer Statement. The €8.95 billion total can be reached if the €0.67 billion Central Bank Surplus Income is included but I would consider that a permanent entry in the Exchequer Statement even though the amount itself may be influenced by the banking crisis. Maybe there’s something else I’m missing.”

    Would the €0.67 billion not bring it back to €7.63 since it is a revenue item?

  11. Are we seeing a shift in european policy towards bank bailouts?
    Unicredit, Italy’s largest bank is obviously in deep doo dah but the State is not riding to the rescue. Instead we see 27 of the largest banks in the world underwriting their 10b rights issue even though their market cap today is reduced to some 8b or thereabouts. With only 25 % of existing shareholders planning to take up the rights it looks like the banking consortium will be left with 75% of the new shares, which, even at a discount of 67% may not be a bargain. The only one which ran for the hills was Blackrock and as PR Guy noted, their timing was “lucky”. I’m sure they have excellent “Chinese walls” between their advice and investment divisions.

  12. You cannot exclude something that is going to happen for the next two decades as a basis for saying the deficit is getting smaller.

    I think the DoF presentation is intended as much to make our case to the Troika about the burden of the banking payments. So yes it doesn’t make much sense conceptually to strip out one particular recurring payment, but it happens to the payment that elements within the Gang of 3 are requiring that we make.

    But as noted above, Unicredit could change the whole calculation on banks very quickly. Or Hungary. The point at which taxpayers are asked to cough up to keep domestic banks whole on their Swiss franc mortgage business may be sufficiently insane even for the Eurocrats to balk.

  13. @ Eamonn Moran

    Who is paying “vastly increased amounts of Income tax/PRSI/USC”? The effect of budget 2011 on a worker with an income of €50,000 was about €1200 (€23 per week). Income Tax has gone up but not enough to expect a big increase in Income Tax receipts.

    Income Tax is up €2.5 billion on the year. Because of the reclassification of the Health Levy it is hard to tell how much of this is additional revenue but it is probably of the order €600 million.

    The Press Release says that “Exchequer tax revenues and PRSI receipts amounted to a combined €41.9 billion in 2011”. With tax revenue of €34.0 billion this puts 2011 PRSI contributions at €7.9 billion. In 2010 PRSI contributions were €6.7 billion. That is a rise of €1.2 billion.

    This suggests there was about €1.8 billion of extra revenue.

    I don’t think the facts have changed. Things are just as bad as we thought they were.

    @ John Martin

    Indeed! I see the DoF have a presentation on their website giving the details of the calculation. I will revise the post based on that.

  14. We’re still spending more than we are raising in tax revenue. Is that ‘austerity’ or ‘living beyond our means’?

  15. I don’t know.
    RTEs 6 clock happy clappy thingy gave me the serious Heebie-jeebies.

    That forced level of extreme teletubby speak must mean we are near the end , at least the beginning of the end , Yes ??????? No !
    It had a strange kind of profound devotion to the Virgin Mary thing about it.

    And then you had Heineken announcing more retail space development on the Beamish site !
    It illustrated the profound corporatization of the commons – with these IDA & Heineken miraculous medals waved about like.
    The influence of the original international corporation is still with us I am afraid.
    We now live in a strange netherworld where the original organs of the nation state now promote the apparently unstoppable market state – I did not think it possible to have both operating at full speed but hey anything is possible in this world.

    The true origin of the collapse remains unresolved – why should it when the people in power can externalize all the losses ?
    The Show goes on.

    But Sharon does not do it for me anymore.
    Maybe some dirty As Gaeilge might help.
    I need to Believe.

  16. @Paul
    Nah Paul – just being a smart ass really as I really am Scared Sh*tl$£s
    Enjoyed rereading the mid level figures debate with Hoganmahew back in July.
    The what is money & what is bank credit debate.
    Can anybody be any doubt about what happens when malinvested bank credit / loans is allowed to be turned into closer money substitutes.

    I was more Gung ho about defecit (CB base money) spending real Irish money back then – but the Irish still have not figured out the problem yet.
    Energy.
    We import far too much of the stuff -so if we go back to the Punt we will be in real trouble also – but it has to be done I guess.
    Its hard to believe you could construct such a hugely deformed market state in such a small country but you can.

    This monetory stuff has birthed a new Universe.
    But its difficult to comprehend the sheer scale of this Galaxy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oALxLNOhI6I

    No one is asking why cash rich corporations such as Heineken are cash rich in the first place while “sovergin” goverments are running out of cash.

    The proposed Beamish “investment” will not increase the productive capacity of the state – its a tertiary activity that should only be pursued after you create core wealth.
    This is why the market state is in such turmoil.
    @Hogan
    High powered CB money or indeed money produced by a Treasury is not debt based – it just is.

  17. its hard to believe that we have had five austerity budgets and we still have a 10% exchequer deficit

    This is a classic story of austerity leading to more austerity.

    This country hasn’t actually implemented austerity measures yet. Social welfare is untouched and income taxes haven’t been raised. We’re still paying public servants 52 weeks in the year.

    These figures are an unmitigated disaster. Unmitigated and unprecedented. Hearing that this is the largest deficit ever recorded just drives home the point that Ireland has not faced up to its problems, at all.

    It really is the 1980s all over again.

    The national debt will be 2016 will be €240 billion, and GDP is likely to be at most €160 billion. The game of waiting for the GDP growth fairy to turn the Irish frog into a princess is over. Now the country has to pay. Income tax increases and cuts are now are inevitable, and regardless the country will enter another IMF programme in 2016 anyway. We are in for a decade of austerity at least.

    Ah, “once-off” banking payments.

    I’m glad someone finally called the government out on this. Let us not forget the future bailouts of mortgage holders, credit unions, insurance companies and of course Nama as the years progress. The people of Ireland are now expected to shoulder the loss of every private financial company in the land. Vive moral hazard.

    Unicredit, Italy’s largest bank is obviously in deep doo dah but the State is not riding to the rescue.

    Italy, Spain, and all the rest have learned their lesson from Ireland’s example. We are the poster child for why sovereigns should not bail out their banking systems.

    RTEs 6 clock happy clappy thingy gave me the serious Heebie-jeebies.

    Indeed. Frankly, I was disgusted by the blatant spin put on these woeful figures, not only by RTE, but by the newspapers as well. Our media is no better than Pravda at exposing the problems the country is facing. It’s one of the reasons that we’ve been running such consistently high deficits over the last four years.

    Irish journalism has a lot to answer for.

  18. I hear voices ……… Beamish Beamish nooooooooooooooooo.

    @Obsessive
    If only if only it was the 1980s.

    There will be no 10 years of austerity if this euro policey continues – the domestic CB will eventually be forced to defecit spend and the country will experience a massive oil shock.

    The Hals of this world have been instructed to cut the life support for some reason.
    Euro base money spending if spent on reducing our energy import dependencey would get us out of this mess but our masters are not interested.
    Continuous Credit money debt repayment without base money creation will shrink everything almost to a singularity before it rebounds again.

    Perhaps they want Europa for themselves.
    A sort of national park with most the Indians gone…… with just the cowboys remaining.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38EDhpxzn2g

  19. @ObsesiveMathsFreak

    media and journalism have also been caught up in putting on the green jersey and not wanting to break the facade that everything is on track
    maybe its to do with the Governments marketing spend is keeping a lot of these guys afloat right now
    yes they have been found wanting they took on the role of cheer leading court jesters in aiding the misinformation as the People had been led down the road to ruin by Governments failure to understand the situation and address it accordingly rather than trimming around the edges in their overly optimistic predictions/projections as it has proved at every stage with a few dissenting voices being slapped down by the journalist core

    i sometimes think back to early 2008 and if we could do it all again would it be possible to put the country in a worst position at end of 2011

  20. @Seamus

    In 2010 PRSI contributions were €6.7 billion. That is a rise of €1.2 billion.

    Very interesting, especially considering that a few small changes should give rise to such a large rise in PRSI. Some of those changes were:

    1. Reduction of maximum net relevant earnings (NRE) for pension from 150,000 to 115,000. There are a smallish number of people in this category but a possible maximum of about €3150 each being 9% of the reduction in NRE on this change alone. [PRSI 4% and Health Levy 5%].

    2. All employee pension contributions were made subject to PRSI (4%) in 2011. In addition the Health Levy Relief (4% on lower paid) , which was part of PRSI was also removed. So a total ~8% of pension contributions. This was clearly this big change and would have given rise to a big increase in ‘PRSI’
    3. Removal of Employer PRSI (10.75%) on 50% of all employee pension contributions from Jan 2011. Again as above because it catches all pension contributions the increased ‘PRSI’ take would have been significant.

    The big lesson to be learned from the increased PRSI takings that resulted principally from the removal of PRSI and Health Levy relief on pension contributions, is the scale of the amount of income tax relief still left on the table in the pension area.

    Indeed, why an employer still gets PRSI relief on 50% of the contributions an employee makes to his own pension scheme is surely an anomaly in the best of times.

    The rise of €1.2 billion in PRSI is staggering. If pension tax reliefs and the rest of the PRSI reliefs were removed, Ireland would make serious inroads into its deficit with little or no immediate impact on the economy.

  21. clarification
    Point 3 above should read:
    3. Removal of Employer PRSI RELIEF (10.75%) on 50% of all employee pension contributions from Jan 2011.

  22. @ Joseph

    The increase in PRSI contributions does seem large but that is what the figures indicate.

    The €6.7 billion figure is in the 2010 Annual Report of the Department of Social Protection and can be readily seen in this answer from Joan Burton to a PQ.

    The 2011 figure of €7.9 billion is inferred from the details of PRSI and tax revenue in the Press Statement to the Exchequer Returns.

    As PRSI + tax revenue was about €500 million below target it would seem that PRSI came in about €400 million ahead of target, thus two-thirds of the increase to €7.9 billion was forecast.

    As well as the ones you list there were other PRSI measures that would have affected the 2011 contributions; abolition of PRSI ceiling, increase in class S (self-employed rate), charging of PRSI on Public Sector Pension Levy and on a variety of other incomes. The impact of these was greater than impact of the pension-related changes to PRSI.

  23. @OMF

    “i sometimes think back to early 2008 and if we could do it all again would it be possible to put the country in a worst position at end of 2011”

    +1

    Great idea for a thread of it’s own? but then again we could I suppose think back to the early 2000’s and ask the same question. It would be worth doing if only lessons could be learned although I am not particularly confident on that front

  24. @Rob S

    “Err..an even bigger national debt? An even longer requirement to be part of an EU/IMF programme?”

    I meant, apart from the bleedin’ obvious Rob! Are there sanctions that could be imposed, could Ireland be taken to the European Courts, could Enda be removed and replaced with a ‘technocrat’, etc. ?

    Just catching up on my reading this morning, I see that the government is doing what it can to bolster the sale of Irish Life by helping to ‘engineer’ the end of the Aviva/AIB joint venture and putting IL into Aviva’s place. More jobs down the river at Aviva then but at least it might make the sale of IL go off this time. AIB are going to have to pay a pretty penny to buy out Aviva’s 75% of that joint venture I would think. Is that what we want our state owned banks spending money on and do we want the government upending the private sector? I should think the PS has enough difficulty in Ireland without tptb queering their patch.

    @Ceterisparibus

    “Italy’s largest bank is obviously in deep doo dah but the State is not riding to the rescue”

    I’m sure after Monti being ‘asked’ to go to visit the EC unexpectedly yesterday, that the State will have been told in no uncertain terms that if Italy doesn’t do everything it can to prevent a banking collapse in the EZ they may well find themselves out in a cold place. There’s an awful lot of fear going on out there.

  25. @ CP

    “Unicredit, Italy’s largest bank is obviously in deep doo dah but the State is not riding to the rescue.”

    Well, they did guarantee 40bn in govt g’teed bond issuance a few weeks ago, so its not like they’re sticking to the sidelines completely. And i suspect they would come in with support if Unicredit gets into more trouble and they can’t get a syndicate together to back ’em.

  26. I agree with Seamus Coffey’s wry comment re “once-off” comment, another of those blackwhite Orwellian bellyfeelgood Orwellian pieces of government propaganda, that “once-off” for the foreseeable future is a bulk €3 bn annual repayment hidden by the “once-off” phrase.

    “For 2011, the Budget target was a General Government Deficit of 9.4% of GDP. The actual deficit will be around 10.0% of GDP. This slippage (largely the result of lower than expected tax revenue) was not a significant issue as the deficit limit set by the European Commission was 10.6% of GDP.”

    Re “was not a significant issue” more rubbish here. In fact this is alarm bells given a poor recessionary outlook for Europe/global with declining GDP, more emigration, higher unemployment, further business closures as debt burden grows in this scenario.

    In fact, given the exposure re negotiations of the dreadnought and feckless Irish negotiating team would it not be wiser to own up to the negative point of view in these figures, to at least give the Irish team an arm up.

    I mean we don’t want these remarks repeated in the Bundestag when German parliamentarians are being asked to support our second bailout. “Ve shud be incresing their interest rate” I suppose on the Titanic this is just another tune played by the Titanic orchestra to give confidence to all 🙁

  27. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/markets-bonds-idUSL6E8C60UJ20120106

    “Patrick Jacq, rate strategist at BNP Paribas said.
    “I would say that whatever U.S. data (emerges) this
    afternoon, the risk will continue to be a key driving force.”
    Benchmark Italian 10-year government bond yields
    rose 3.8 basis points to 7.2 percent — borrowing
    levels perceived to be unsustainable over the long-term. Five
    year yields were up 8.3 bps at 6.31 percent.
    Spanish 10-year government bond yields rose
    4.1 bps to 5.72 percent, with the five-year yield surging 12.6
    bps to 4.89 percent. The European Central Bank intervened in
    those markets, according to a trader.
    “I will stick to my view that things are going to blow up
    (in the euro zone),” he added.”

    me too

  28. Why was stamp duty so far ahead of beginning of year estimates? Cumulatively it was €436m (45.7%) ahead of targets. There are huge jumps in stamp duty receipts in July and September. Any ideas?

  29. The extra €3.1 billion that has to be found from next years tax revenues, might that not suggest that the deficit reduction program will collapse? As things stand the figure amounts to 20% of this year’s deficit. Wasn’t Lenihan’s original intention to record a deficit of €12 billion thereabouts at this point in time?

    I read yesterday that retail spending was down in Ireland on latest figures. Hardly a surprise but making the assumption that such figures indicate a trend, finding extra revenue from retail may be just so much hope.

    It will be interesting, and I suspect overwhelming, to see how personal and business debt problems balloon over the coming twelve months and whether the government can craft any response for the small entities in the economy.

  30. @ David

    That’s because of the 0.6% Private Pension Levy introduced in May. This was collected as a Stamp Duty and was not factored into the original forecasts. About €100 million was collected early in July with the bulk of the remaining €350 million collected in September.

  31. ‘We didn’t make a payment on the Promissory Notes last year but we will make this €3.1 billion payment each year to 2023 and lower payments right up to 2031. From next year there will be accrued interest added to the Promissory Notes that will increase the General Government Debt. You cannot exclude something that is going to happen for the next two decades as a basis for saying the deficit is getting smaller.’

    … we will make this €3.1 billion payment each year to 2023 and lower payments right up to 2031.

    … we [will NOT] make this €3.1 billion payment each year to 2023 and lower payments right up to 2031.

    @ECB, EC, IMF
    … we will make [an €0.31] billion payment each year from [2023] to a reasonable date … we quite simply cannot afford the present LUNACY …

  32. @Bond Eoin Bond
    Thanks. I hadn’t realized that Italy had guaranteed the Unicredit bonds.
    That makes matters even more precarious…I see they are off about 10% as I write at 4.07. That’s a 50% decline since December. The interesting part though is the bank organized rescue through the underwriting of the rights issue. To get 27 banks to buy this paper knowing that the existing shareholder take up is about 25% is some accomplishment. I suppose the reported 250m in fees has something to do with it….they can always stuff them in some pension fund later. It all kinda reminds me of AIB.

  33. @Ceterisparibus

    “they can always stuff them in some pension fund later.”

    I’ve seen worse things stuffed into pension funds 😉

  34. “For 2012, the Budget target is a deficit of 8.6% of GDP. The deficit limit set by the EC is also 8.6% of GDP. … …

    … … If there is any slippage or lower than expected nominal growth we will not meet the deficit limit.”

    Not if, but when. Oil, the hemoglobin of Permagrowth economies was approx 15% more costly in 2011. Global production (crude) is flat – has been for 5 years. Domestic consumption (of fossil fuels) by producers is increasing by 3% – 5% per annum: the nett available to us westies (after Chindia take their share) is decreasing by 3% per annum. Not long now.

    Its not an oil shock we face, its economic chaos. If we have 5 yrs of ungrowth? Ungrowth -> unjobs -> untaxes -> unable to pay!!! Will be an interesting general election next time.

    Keeping an eye on the damaged elec interconnector are we? Tad tricky to fix apparently. That’s the predicament with advanced technologies. Very energy intensive (esp in liquid fuels) to maintain and replace.

    As I said, its not if, but when.

    Brian

  35. @Brian
    Simple technologies with modern materials may help – ever hear of the flywheel ?
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel

    British Boffin culture may not be dead yet.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuhv6xsfWmc

    Here is the entire railway line Journey !!!!!!!!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbUao4aQt98

    Small , slow and super efficient may be the way to go.
    Can imagine alighting in Tralee railway station & taking a trip on one of these to Fenit or a slow trip to Ardfert.
    Or maybe walking into Tralee to connect to Blennerville

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stourbridge_Town_Branch.

    A tourist / commuter train to Ardfert cathedral would be a much better investment then the Beamish retail space thingy.

  36. @ Dork:

    Ah yes! But what makes that pesky wheel fly?

    Parallel steel rails are best. Silly blighters have ripped most of them up, and have even built over the permanent ways. Manic!

    Brian.

  37. LPG
    But this had problems with longer / steep gradient lines – they are experimenting with Diesel now

    “From 24 January 2011, Go! Cooperative planned to be operating a trial service between Alton and Medstead & Four Marks on the Mid-Hants Railway using the Class 999 unit.[1] This was abandoned after a series of mechanical and electrical failures and due to the unit proving to be unsuitable for the long and steep gradients on the line[2] the unit is now being reconfigured to address the problems with a redesigned chassis and conversion from LPG to Diesel power and the trial will be repeated”

    PS Looking at Google Earth – Dunnes Stores blocks the very start of the Ardfert / Fenit line ! – but the rest looks intact , I guess the people in Ardfert could afford to travel to shop in empty supermarkets…………….

    The French always kept their old lines intact – the Irish however……………………..

  38. LPG v diesel: energy density problemo! What will RyanAir do when aviation kerosene is restricted? How many ‘vehicles’ will cross the Strawberry beds Bridge each day when transport fuel is rationed? Lots of empty drive-in sites in NAMA III 😎

    Is that zombie I see lurching about our countryside Todd Andrews?

    I’d jack up that DS outfit and run trains underneath. Two for the price of one!

    Brian.

  39. @Brian
    I am sure the dynamic management at Ryanair will think of something………….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d09YOacP-9g

    And if they are not that very dynamic then………..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCkzxOcwg_Q

    They may need to recruit this British Boffin though …….. and actually pay him a few bob.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOUOXm8JLxU

    But seriously – I think the people mover is a very viable cheap transport on near zero gradient lines going toward 1000+ people towns from bigger mainline rail towns of 15,000+ , once they are less then 10km apart and have 3 or 4 stops in between.
    Ardfert comes to mind given its near intact line and lack of gradient.

    People need to think outside the box so as to keep our market towns.

    The road between Ardfert & Tralee was small and very busy at least during the boom.
    It is also a very dangerous road – supply lines can be cut at any time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF5TF_EPjfc

    The video below covers the vehicles gestation over the years – its quite interesting really – they claim 50 % savings relative a single railcar.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnCUEeTE_p8

  40. @Brian @Dork

    how are we in Ireland going to square the oil /energy crisis that is coming down the tracks outside finding the mother of all honey oilfield wells from the atalntic fring

    BTW my late father was a great believer in the view that there`s loads oil out off in the the irish west coast

  41. @Clintideal
    Thats a big question
    But I think reducing our private car usage to 1990 levels of 1 MTOE rather then todays 2 MTOE is the low hanging fruit and also replacing oil fired central heating which has experienced massive growth this last 20 years (now about 1.5MTOE) – in rural areas this should be replaced with efficient wood & wood gas stoves.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFddM0LdTvg

    As for oil off our west coast well thats a internationally priced commodity which appears effectivally non taxable – not sure it will help us much although it would reduce our import dependency I guess.

    Anyhow – the goverment is not investing much in our future anymore – it has given up on that thingy.
    That means we must use a higher proportion of our personnel income for investment rather then consumption.
    This means if people really need a car (rural dwellers) they need to buy the most efficient models available rather then wasting their capital on BMWers
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns9HqlXs1NE
    Electric cars don’t make sense in this country since we use fossil fuels to make the electricity – the transformation losses are huge.
    (The French can go down the electric car route because of their Nuclear infrastructure.)
    Anyway would like to see some goverment investment with a strategic goal – example – using Perry people movers or bus like trains to feed into our existing train stations using old narrow gauge lines is a inexpensive investment when looking at the costs holistically.
    Unfortunetly the goverment does not do holistic – if it can save fiscal money by forcing you to buy a car it believes it has really saved money !!!!

    Its a retarded petulant child with no long term vision beyond its next meal.

  42. @Dork

    many thanks for that

    so we have to look at our own personal energy use and be more effeciant with how we use it ie, car use / public transport , home heating ect,
    while wait for the Government to formulate an energy policy to counteract on future rising costs of oil and gas energy

    what ever happened to the Spirit of Ireland project that looked good me
    investment on future energy production using wind and hydro power a really big build project lots of jobs they were even talking about exporting excess electricity funding to come from the private sector

    BTW any new technologies coming trough that Ireland can harness

  43. @Clintideal
    Not really a fan of wind for electricity generation.
    I am afraid Nuclear is the way to go if a country has little Hydro or Cheap coal. – (Norway & Poland)
    Denmark has the highest prices by far in Europe although I guess they can afford experiments – it being in Oil surplus and all.
    http://www.energy.eu
    But nuclear is not going to happen in this country.
    Given that fact
    I think the best big corporation /state project with substantial RoI probabilities is a Luas Alstom train for Cork given its linear development nature , population / remaining wealth and semi intact blackrock passage west line.
    It would appear to subtract almost nothing based on gross energy figures but would change the dynamics of the town radically as a person could travel from Ballincollig to Crosshaven with options to stop along this long route using a changed bus hub system
    It would essentially make a car a luxery for the 100,000 + people living very close to the line and become a occasional transport option for a extra 200,000 people (& tourists) as both work , education ,Shopping & leisure would be a one stop option for the entire south side of the river.
    It think it is a great scandal that no real preparative work was done down here given the substantially higher population density along this route relative to the Luas Green line.
    But this is Ireland after all……………………..

  44. @OMF
    “”Unicredit, Italy’s largest bank is obviously in deep doo dah but the State is not riding to the rescue.”

    Italy, Spain, and all the rest have learned their lesson from Ireland’s example. We are the poster child for why sovereigns should not bail out their banking systems.”
    Tragically true.

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